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Microneedle flu vaccine now available

September 22, 2011|By Shari Roan, Los Angeles Times / For the Booster Shots blog
  • A new flu shot for adults consists of a tiny needle that is inserted under the skin.
A new flu shot for adults consists of a tiny needle that is inserted under… (Sanofi Pasteur )

A flu vaccine for adults who fear needles began shipping this week to clinics, pharmacies and doctors' offices, according to the manufacturer of the product, Sanofi Pasteur.

The device is an ultrafine needle that is inserted under the skin. Typical flu shot needles are one to 1.5 inches long and are inserted into the muscle. The microneedle is 90% shorter -- 0.06 inches. Studies show the vaccine confers as much immunity against flu as standard vaccines.

Unfortunately, it's not for kids, who tend to be the biggest criers. But adults who put off a flu shot because they hate shots now have no excuse. Adults ages 18 to 64 rank as one of the lowest-immunized groups in the United States despite recommendations that everyone ages 6 months and older should have an annual flu shot, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The product is called Fluzone Intradermal. It won't be as widely available as the regular flu shot or nasal spray, but some doctors will have it as well as some pharmacy chains. The other types of flu vaccine are already available and no shortages are expected this year.

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